Having spent nearly a decade as a player and assistant coach at Division I University of Hartford, Brian Tilley was selected as the fifth head coach in the 21-year history of the Eastern Connecticut State University men’s lacrosse program in August of 2014.
And despite inheriting a team which had lost its core -- including three of its top four scorers, two starting defensemen and its top two faceoff men -- the Warriors were able to overcome injuries and cobble together a winning record and reach the Little East Conference championship game.
With a senior-laden team in 2016, Tilley led Eastern to a 15th LEC finals appearance in the 16-year history of the championship. The Warriors won nine of their final 12 matches overall in 2016, and advanced to the LEC title game with a spirited 15-14 home win over a Plymouth State University team which had pinned an overtime loss on the Warriors less than two weeks earlier.
In 2106, Tilley directed the program to its 18th season of ten or more wins to move his two-year head coaching record at Eastern to 18-14, 10-4 in LEC regular-season contests.
The collegiate head coaching experience is the first for Tilley, who spent the last five seasons as offensive coordinator under head coach Peter Lawrence at Hartford after beginning his collegiate coaching career in 2009 as offensive coordinator under head coach Dan Mahar at Division III SUNY College at Oneonta.
A native of Lake Ronkonkoma, NY, Tilley moved into the coaching ranks at Hartford after a four-year playing career at midfield and attack at Hartford, where he was named NEILA East-West All-Star Game and team MVP as a senior and to the America East All-Rookie team as a freshman. He played his final three seasons under Lawrence.
In his second season as an assistant coach in 2011, Tilley helped the Hawks to their highest America East regular-season finish (second place) since they shared the title in 2003, and their first-ever America East playoff championship and first NCAA tournament appearance. Of the team’s six regular-season losses that year, five came by two or one goal.
In both 2012 and 2013, Hartford was ranked among the national top eight in shooting percentage (third in that category in 2012), goals, assists and points per game.
In addition to his game and practice duties at Hartford, Tilley supervised the players’ collaboration with the program’s academic advisor and organized the team’s community service program. With Tilley, the program has won the America East Academic Cup title each of the past three seasons and also received the Hartford athletic department’s Community Service Award four straight years.